It’s perfectly possible to set yourself up as a hypnotherapist after doing a very basic weekend course, or training online. In fact, you can skip the training altogether and call yourself a hypnotherapist just because you fancy doing so. It’s not illegal to do so. However, it is short-sighted and could leave you very exposed to doing harm, rather than good. All professions have regulatory bodies, and they exist for a reason. When it comes to training, if you undertake a course which is recognised by a respected regulatory body, you are ensured a thorough level of training which meets a very set list of requirements. Upon qualification, if you are a member of such a regulatory body, you have the support of that organisation when it comes to potential client disputes, and you can show your client that you have undertaken the highest level of training possible. If you don’t belong to a limited number of regulatory bodies you may not be able to become insured to work with clients, you will find your range of room hire options limited, and you will be unable to list as a practitioner on respected directories – which are usually the best way to get clients through your door in the early stages. Registration isn’t the sexiest subject in the world, but it’s one of the most important before you consider which Hypnotherapy Diploma you wish to undertake. Any hypnotherapy training courses in Scotland and the rest of the UK have new learning outcomes and assessment guidelines which they must meet to adhere to new CNHC requirements.


What is the CNHC?

Hypnotherapy – along with many other complementary therapies – has a number of regulatory bodies. Some of these professional organisations carry absolutely no weight in the wider world and have simply been set up by the training provider in order to make themselves look more professional. Just as you could establish yourself as a hypnotherapist tomorrow with no training, I could establish a professional body, with a nice logo, which my students could join on completion of their training. But it would mean absolutely nothing. Many short courses and online courses do exactly this and when their students need insurance and wish to list on a respected directory such as Hypnotherapy Directory, they find they lack any meaningful qualifications. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is the most respected professional body for hypnotherapists and other complementary practitioners in the UK. The CNHC was established in 2008 with government funding and in 2013 it was approved as the holder of an “Accredited Voluntary Register” by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA). In 2015 it became an “Accredited Register” for the PSA. Having the ability to register as a practitioner with the CNHC, in essence, allows you to register with the most official body in existence for complementary practitioners. In order to qualify with the CNHC you must have undertaken a course which is accredited by the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC). Any course which is GHSC accredited has been strictly vetted to meet specific learning outcomes. GHSC accredited courses allow you to register with a number of additional bodies, including the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR) and also allow you to register with the CNHC. When choosing a hypnotherapy training course, ensure that it is GHSC accredited, and that the training provider hasn’t simply invented their own professional body.


What changes have taken place?

From March 2019, the learning outcomes for GHSC accredited courses have been changed in some significant ways to reflect changes in client needs and advances in technology. Although many of the learning outcomes remain the same, GHSC accredited courses – which allow you to register with the CNHC – must cover the provision of online therapy, which is crucial to practitioners who are establishing themselves in today’s world. In addition to other changes in the core curriculum, the new GHSC requirements also call for external validation of student assessments. My Diploma in Analytical Hypnotherapy has always required case studies, as I feel that dealing with real life “clients” is by far the best way for my students to learn, but not all courses have included a high practical element in their assignments. If you are considering training to be a hypnotherapist, please check with your training provider whether your course work will be externally marked. If not, whilst you may be eligible to sign up with the GHR or similar, you won’t be able to sign up with the CNHC and you will not be doing a course which meets the latest GHSC requirements.


The practical benefits of registering with the CNHC

Whilst it’s not a requirement to register with the CNHC – and the GHR is a respectable professional body – there are a range of benefits in being able to do so. The CNHC is recognised amongst other health professionals as being the gold standard of complementary practitioners. This means, for instance, if a GP has a client who he or she feels may benefit from hypnotherapy, they would consult the CNHC register in the first instance. Being a member of the CNHC also provides you with a very high level of professional identity. This means everything when a client is searching for a practitioner. In this day and age, many clients do a significant amount of research into hypnotherapy and into finding a reputable practitioner. By listing yourself as a CNHC practitioner, and providing the relevant links to the CNHC website, you are displaying a high level of professionalism. The CNHC, in addition to other respectable, professional organisations, allows you to list on respected hypnotherapy directories. Particularly when you are starting your journey as a hypnotherapist, it is crucial that clients can find you – and that they find you in the right places. Some hypnotherapy directories, such as Hypnotherapy Directory, require that you are a member of a small number of professional hypnotherapy organisations, including the GHR or CNHC. If you have completed an online course, or a weekend training course, you simply won’t be able to list yourself with some of the leading directories. Similarly, you won’t be able to insure yourself as a hypnotherapist with the leading insurance companies. Being insured is absolutely crucial. You need to have public liability insurance (for things like client accidents in your home) and you also need to have indemnity insurance (which covers you against any advice you might offer clients). Without this type of insurance, you are left in a very vulnerable position as a therapist. Without sufficient insurance, and evidence of your qualifications, you will also be unable to hire reputable therapy rooms in many locations.


What to do now?!

There’s a lot of information to take in, and all the acronyms are almost impossible to make sense of or to remember! Here are some useful guidelines to help you sort the wheat from the chaff and make sure you are doing a course which will allow to operate at the highest professional level, and to gain all the benefits of doing so. Hypnotherapy had become increasingly regulated (and very different to the scene I entered over ten years ago) and it’s likely that it will become even more regulated, which is a good thing.

1)      Is the course online? If the hypnotherapy training course you are interested in is online you will not be able to practice at the highest level or to register with a body such as the CNHC or GHR. You won’t be able to list with Hypnotherapy Directory, and your insurance options will be extremely limited. You probably don’t need to ask many other questions of your training provider – online diplomas are not GHSC accredited!

2)      Is the course GHSC accredited? Ask this question of the training provider. The range of professional bodies is really confusing, including the GHR, NCH and others. The bottom line, therefore, should be “Is your course GHSC accredited?”. If it is, it has met the strict learning outcomes established by the GHSC and it will allow registration with one of the top professional hypnotherapy organisations.

3)      Has your course been updated since March 2019 to reflect GHSC changes?  All hypnotherapy training providers have been sent details of the changes they need to make to their core curriculum, and marking of assessments, in order to meet new GHSC requirements. It is still possible to undertake a course which meets previous GHSC requirements, and allows for registration with, for instance, the GHR, but which have not been updated to reflect the changes which allow for registration with the CNHC. Whilst registration with the CNHC isn’t absolutely necessary, you are advised to do a course which allows you to register with the CNHC if you choose to at some point, given it’s advantages.

4)      Do you have external markers for assignments? In line with the new changes, course providers now have to have external markers for student assignments. If they don’t provide this, they aren’t meeting the new registration requirements.

5)      Do you have a practical assignment and case studies? Not only is doing practical work the best way to learn in a safe environment, but it is also a requirement of the new GHSC learning outcomes.

If you’d like any further information about hypnotherapy registration, or would like to find out more about my hypnotherapy training courses in Scotland, UK, please do not hesitate to get in touch.